Utilities resume for residents affected by Ang Mo Kio blaze

The four shops destroyed by the fire at Block 720 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6 remain closed and the owners of those next door say business has been badly affected as some areas have been cordoned off.
The four shops destroyed by the fire at Block 720 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6 remain closed and the owners of those next door say business has been badly affected as some areas have been cordoned off.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE KIAT

Common services such as gas, water, electricity and fibre network are again available at flats in Block 720 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6, five days after a fire forced residents to be relocated temporarily.

An update by HDB yesterday also said charred corridors have been given a fresh coat of paint by the Ang Mo Kio Town Council, which will also carry out repairs to other affected common areas.

It added that of the 28 households in the block, 16 families had returned to their homes, with the rest either staying with friends and relatives, or in temporary accommodation provided by the HDB, which is continuing to work with the owners of affected shops and flats on renovations.

Eight people were taken to hospital as a result of last Friday's blaze, which destroyed four shops.

When The Straits Times visited the block yesterday, residents and contractors were seen repairing the damage in the flats.

On the second floor, a branch of the EduFirst Learning Centre, which provides after-school care and tuition services, had resumed classes, although the teachers were still coming to terms with the fire.

The centre's supervisor, Ms Phaedra Weng, 26, said the fire broke out during lesson time, and teachers rushed to evacuate the children.

 
 

Over the next three days, the staff cleaned the soot off the walls and gave them a fresh coat of paint.

Ms Weng said teachers are encouraging the children to share their worries about the fire.

A maid, who wanted to be known only as Ms Puii, said she was alone in a flat on the fourth floor when the fire broke out. "I was in my room when I smelled gas. I immediately ran out and everything was covered in smoke," recalled the 27-year-old.

She ran down with her neighbours but they were met by fire on the second floor. They ran back up to the third floor, and took refuge in another neighbour's flat until they were rescued by firefighters.

Last Saturday, the area's MP, Dr Koh Poh Koon, praised the residents for coming together, from the ones "who bought morning coffee and tea for our Home Team officers... to the volunteers who reached out to affected families offering care and support".

He said: "We also took some daily necessities to the residents who are putting up at temporary units until their homes are ready, and arranged for some beds, tables, chairs, fans and common items for their use. The investigations into the fire are ongoing but we will continue to check in on all affected residents and hope to address their concerns and needs in order to help them resume their daily activities as soon as possible."

The shops gutted by the fire remain closed and businesses next door were still affected as areas have been cordoned off.

"My business is down by about 80 per cent," said one shop owner who wanted to known as Ms Anna. She runs a beauty parlour.

"Now that the passageway in front of our beauty parlour has been blocked, nobody walks past here any more. I just hope the damage will be fixed soon."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2019, with the headline 'Utilities resume for residents affected by Ang Mo Kio blaze'. Print Edition | Subscribe